Trying to put my thoughts & ideas down somewhere and give another outlet to my creativity. It's all connected, so I can't say it's a blog about just this or just that. Dolls. Fashion. Art. A little bit on travel, whatever... let's take it wherever it goes...


New finds, vintage style in Denver and styles better left forgotten

So, I'm back. That holiday, though not much more than a week, was certainly hard earned. Skiing was fun as always, and we certainly never before have had a week with such good or warm weather - what a difference a month can make. So far, we only ever skied in Colorado in February, but never this late, in Mid-March.
Having a whole, and extremely sunny, beautiful day to drive from Breckenridge down to Denver, and one more half day before we actually needed to be at the airport, meant plenty of time, and some very interesting discoveries in the Mile High City. We took the GPS-enabled iPod, but that didn't want to work, so it was back to reading maps for me. However, the map we picked up at a gas station in Frisco, where we had breakfast (it was time to at least once try one of those fast food breakfasts that make you shudder even reading them on the sign *lol*), proved not to be so bad, though it had about the size of a blanket, I kid you not. In short, we did a lot of driving around the city, but without the wrong turns and slight feeling of being lost of other times. In exchange for that, we made some interesting discoveries.
First off was the vintage shop. Short last-minute online research pointed me to Boss Vintage on South Broadway, which seemed to be a pleasant area with quirky looking small businesses and unusual old houses. And it was certainly worth the visit! I had feared it might be a bit on the expensive side, but prices turned out to be reasonable, and things sorted nicely e.g. suits, skirts, sweaters, dresses, cocktail dresses, and then divided by decade. So I went straight for the day dresses and went through the 30s, 40s and 50s. What was remarkable was that I saw a lot of store labels from Denver, so they seem to source a lot of stuff locally, which I find very recommendable. Also, the tags has measurments listed, so it was easy to pick things that I had a fair chance of being able to wear. I was also looking for bright colors, and that requirement was easily fulfilled with what I bought in the end:
A late 40s/early 50s cusper - a dress "Styled by Claire Tiffany" of heavy kelly green crepe, albeit with some color fading at the shoulders/sleeves, but still too beautiful to miss. It also features a cute embroidered collar:
Next up is a pumpkin orange slender 50s dress with a big collar:The labe inside is from Neusteters department store. As it turns out, this used to be one of those classic department stores that were around forever. Like so many others, it doesn't exist anymore, but the building is still there. Nowadays, it is on the pedestrian-only part of downtown 16th Street, 16th Street Mall. And I am pretty sure I have walked by that building a few times already in my life. We certainly did this time, before our usual dinner at Hard Rock Café. More on the history and the building can be read here. Well, I think it's a cool idea to have a vintage "souvenir" from one's trips.
Last but not least, I also found a beautiful slip:Saturday morning started beautifully sunny, as we made our way across the city again, this time on the hunt for some original Cowboy Cut jeans by Wrangler. They're not that easy to get, as stores like Wal-Mart carry only the "normal" Wrangler models. For Cowboy Cut and such things, you need a western shop. Dad found one online, which turned out to be a small Mexican shop (should have seen the shirts, suits and boots they had - oh, the bling!), complete with the TV on with a (albeit English) soccer game on. Driving out there, we followed Colfax Avenue straight across downtown and further on. Just at the eastern end of downtown, where some great old-fashioned looking theaters are, we came across Tom's Diner. You can't miss it, it's right there and the mid-century modern look certainly grabs your eyes. So, we stopped there for breakfast. It looks amazing outside, but inside it's even better! You can catch a look here. It's that crazy, kitschy ca. mid-50s to early 60s "modern" look, made sunny and fun with a lot of yellow and orange. The food was what you'd expect at a diner, but good. I just sat there an marveled. What a cool place!
Further along Colfax Avenue, after passing by the State Capitol's golden cupola gleaming in the sun, the road was lined with car dealers, garages - and old motels, gas stations, bars, diners. And I mean the real thing - those with those incredible 50s neon signs. Some motels looked nice, for some the term "run down" would be an endearment, and of some nothing was left but the neon signs. I'd love to drive through there at night and see how many still light up. I mean, they're cool anyway, but not as cool as when you see them at night! Check out Colfax Avenue's official website, there's small photo show at the bottom of the page (below the Youtube videos), that shows some of the signs. I admit, I was too busy looking to even think of taking pictures (which is difficult anyway out of a driving car and while keeping an eye on the map).The downside is, as I have read on several websites now, that a lot of these motels nowadays are used as permanent residences, by people who can't afford or find an apartment - and thus live in these motels under conditions that are near unimaginable. It's the same story as in so many other places. Colfax Avenue/Highway 40 once was Denver's "Main Street" (as I said, it goes straight through downtown, passing the Capitol, the Civic Center, the Mint and the Convention Center), until in 1964 Interstate 70 opened further north, and Colfax lost it's importance. That also explains the many motels I guess.
Going back to Breckenridge for a bit, I noticed a trend on the slopes that I don't know if I should find it interesting - or downright scary! I noticed a lot of neon colors (or dayglo), especially with boarders. Snowboards with wild designs first caught my eyes, but some boarders too were wearing suits with neon color elements. Okay, I loved my neon green Völkl skis, and I think they would right now have been the coolest thing to have on that mountain, judging by what I saw. But ski/board suits with neon color elements? I saw it the first time 'round and I don't think I want to see it repeated... ;-). Besides the "new" neon-inspired suits, I did spot one neon-colored atrocity that looked like it had been the "real thing". If the wearer was simply wearing what she bought 20 years ago and still deemed alright, or she might have bought this intentionally second hand, I cannot say - the way she looked age-wise I guess it could've been either case. But the utmost, absolute, most unbelievable fashion faux-pas I spotted on the slopes in Keystone was... THE NEON PINK STIRRUP PANTS! Gratefully, the wearer combined them with a black jacket, and at least she was slender, but still... How can anyone do that? Of course, I asked myself again... second-hand leftover from back in the day, or new (which is a thought that makes me shudder, really!). She was definitely too young to have worn them back in the 80s or very early 90s. That also reminds me, while looking through the blogs I'm reading /keeping an eye on, the Couture Allure's blog has a wonderful "Awful 80s" series that will make anyone laugh who remembers this. The latest instalment had me in stitches! I was a kid who loved to look at mail-order catalogs, so I do remember some of this stuff, even though I was too young then to care too much about fashion per se. Read the comments too, they'll make you laugh all over again. I just hope those stretch lace catsuit had an opening in a certain... ahm... strategic place...!

On another note, since the weather has been warming up constantly this week, I have given my brown 1930s dress an outing. Getting in and out of it takes some artistic talent, as the only opening are the buttons down the front, but it is actually quite comfortable - and I think it looks great. The skirt is just long and tight enough that it gives that slightly wiggly feeling...
For a 50's feeling, I have last week received a cute 50s cashmere sweater from Past Perfect Vintage, which looks great with my black wide cotton skirt from Lindex. Scarf's from the dollar store, Blythe doll earrings and pearl bracelets are my own creation.It also looks quite nice with slim jeans and the nice pumps from the Caritas shop:
Ok, the Lana-Turner-pointy-bra isn't there, but I still feel a bit "Sweater Girl"-like when I wear it;-).

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